Special interests

Classical playlist

Here is a selection of classical music videos that could be both calming and engaging.

  • Brahms’ Intermezzo opus 118 played by Arthur Jussen.6 mins
  • Brahms’ Intermezzo opus 118 played by Arthur Jussen.6 mins    Lullaby is considered to be his best known work, though.3 mins
  • Vivaldi’s Four seasons: Winter.2 mins    This is the popular 2nd movement, with the title Rain.     It features violin strings being plucked in the background.
  • Vivaldi’s Four seasons: Winter.2 mins    This is the popular 2nd movement, with the title Rain.     It features violin strings being plucked in the background.
  • Schubert String Quintet in C major opus163, Adagio, played by the Polish Camerata quartet plus one.15 mins
  • Schubert String Quintet in C major opus163, Adagio, played by the Camerata quartet plus one.15 mins
    His Trout quintet is better known.    Here Jacqueline du Pre was playing cello in the 4th movement.8mins
  • Debussy, Footprints in the snow played by Daniel Barenboim.5 mins
  • Debussy, Des pas sur la neige, or footprints in the snow, played by Daniel Barenboim.5 mins
  • Debussy, Prelude to the afternoon of a faun, played by Frankfurt radio symphony orchestra.11 mins
  • Debussy, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, or prelude to the afternoon of a faun, played by Sinfonieorchester, from Frankfurt.11 mins     Clair de lune is one of his better know pieces.

The hydrogen economy

With Tata steel UK having announced the closure of two blast furnaces in south Wales there may be concerns about the viability of the production of steel in the light of global warming.     Click icon to see how hydrogen fuel might help with producing green steel among other things.

Is there anything here that looks interesting.      One or two new interests could be worth having.

The bigger picture

If you like to find fresh thinking then these might be worth a look.

  • What the theory? – A slightly irreverent, no-nonsense blog outlining concepts and issues.     Despite his youthful appearance, Tom Nicholas, the blogger, knows his stuff.     Well, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of a lot of subjects.      
    A video, though, in which he analysed a piece of reporting by the BBC did not take into account discussion about their editorial policy broadcast on such Radio 4 programmes as Feedback.     Maybe this should have led to a more nuanced conclusion.new
  • Stumbling and mumbling – thoughts about current affairs, the latest post.      Well considered opinion with links to intelligent analysis.
  • Science of the soul – an article about Daniel Dennett.     Perhaps he could be described as a curious rationalist with a love of life.     Here is a video presentation of his thoughts about the nature of consciousness.  (56 min + musical intro)

Electric car manufacturing

Electric car manufacturing in the UK is looking complicated.     Somerset is hoped to become the location for a huge electric car battery plant that could create thousands of jobs.     Tata Group, which owns the carmaker Jaguar land rover, was reported to be about to sign a deal in May 2023 that would mean the new factory would be based in the UK rather than Spain.     Car magazine explains the significance of such a deal to the UK.     

Brexit is another complicating factor.      Car manufacturers said that the transition to electric vehicles in the UK were set to be knocked off course until stricter rules of origin due to come into force in 2024 were delayed in Dec 2023.updated


The society of motor manufacturers says that annual UK car production was down in January 2023, while electric vehicle output was up.     See article.

Drive electric, a vehicle leasing company, says that according to recent figures, battery electric vehicles (EVs) are set to overtake internal combustion engine vehicles in the UK car market by 2025.     Also, one-third of used car sales are expected to be EVs by 2030 and are projected to account for about 10% of the British car market.      See article.     They get some of their statistics from Ernst & young, who provide more independent analysis.

High Speed Rail

A new railway line from London to Birmingham and beyond is planned.      It will be called, High Speed 2 (HS2).     Click map to enlarge.

High Speed 1 is the line from London to the Channel Tunnel (HS1).       See below under Eurostar.       Since the HS1 line was built, commuters from Ashford, not far from the tunnel, have been able to get to London in a fraction of the time they could before.

Local news for Leicestershire covered a story about HS2 in 2013.      See video clip and click on picture of train to watch.     They say that the effect of HS2 on Leicestershire might be similar, when the new line is in use, to that of HS1 on Kent.      The Birmingham station will not be very far from Leicester.

Not everyone is happy about spending a great deal of money on HS2 to get more people to their work in London, but HS1 has helped to make homes more affordable for commuters.       Mayors and business leaders, in 2022, say that the new line will be essential to level up, the country, though others say it will not do much to help with this. 

Model railways

Model railways can range from a basic circuit of track to a large, high tech layout.      OO scale is the most popular, with the smaller and more compact N gauge having gained in popularity.

Here are video clips of a few of the best model railways in the UK.      Click button to watch.


  • Ashford international model railway education centre opened in 2021.       See:  website      photo gallery       map.
  • Digital commands control (DCC) is a  technology for controlling each locomotive on your layout independently.      It may not seem to be worth the cost and complication but might be interesting.      See:  Introduction
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